Yuvraj will miss first two weeks of IPL: Moody
Tom Moody, Sunrisers Hyderabad coach, has confirmed that star all-rounder Yuvraj Singh is set to miss at least the first two weeks of the Indian Premier League.Yuvraj sustained an injury during India's 2016 ICC World Twenty20 campaign and had to miss the semifinal against West Indies, which the home side eventually lost.
There was a cloud of uncertainty over his availability for Sunrisers' opening game against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Tuesday (April 12) but now it has been revealed that the southpaw will miss the initial stages of the tournament. "Sadly, Yuvraj will be out for a couple of weeks but we don't know how long that is going to be," Moody said while speaking to IPLT20.com on his team's chances this season after failing to make the top four in the previous two editions.
Yuvraj was Sunrisers Hyderabad's biggest buy in the auction this year and Moody emphasised his importance in limited overs cricket."A player like Yuvraj Singh is important to any team. He is not only a match-winner with the bat but he is a very useful bowler in those middle overs," he said.
"Going into the auction, we were aware that we needed to strengthen our middle order. Hence, we targeted players like Yuvraj and Deepak Hooda to give us that depth in our middle order and they compliment what we already have in our squad. What we are aware of this year is building a great depth and strength in our squad and by securing people like Aditya Tare, Tirumalasetti Suman who has had a lot of IPL experience in the past, we feel that we have got that depth of talent to be able to cover for any circumstance and Yuvraj's absence is one of them. With Yuvraj being injured at this stage, you don't know what is around the corner - you need that depth in the squad."
The Hyderabad franchise's best season was in 2013 when they finished in the top four while the two editions after that saw them finish sixth. But the former Australian all-rounder reckons the team is more focused and ready to better the previous years. "We are very motivated like we are every year; there is no doubt about that. We are keen to play finals cricket. We are setting our target on being in that top four."
Moody felt that had Hyderabad won one of their last two home games in 2015, they would have finished second in the table. "We weren't that far off. We had a very good season last year. If it wasn't for a couple of unfortunate situations in our last two games here at home, against Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians, we would have ended second," Moody added.
"We take a lot of confidence out of last year. If we repeat the way we played last year and look to raise the bar just a little bit then I am confident that we will be playing finals cricket. We are confident that we will do it with the squad that we have retained and we are also pleased with the players that we secured in the auction. We are feeling in a strong position," he continued.
Hyderabad bought numerous bowlers during the auctions to strengthen their attack. They picked up a host of fast bowlers and two names that stood out were Ashish Nehra and Mustafizur Rahman. The team has four left-arm pacers which also includes Trent Boult and Barinder Sran. Moody reasoned that it was a deliberate move to bring in a particular kind of bowlers because of the format.
"Yes, we were keen to have some left-arm options in our pace attack and we also felt that in shorter form of cricket they are effective. At the end of the day, Nehra and Mustafizur were introduced into our squad since both are top quality world class bowlers. Whether they bowl left or right hand it doesn't make any difference. They are top class and they are a welcome addition to the squad.
"It is about what they bring to the table as bowlers," he went on to add. "They are all different type of bowlers and all have various strengths at different phases of the game and we will be selecting accordingly. It is great to have someone like Nehra who has so much experience and is in such good form at the moment. He is the senior bowler in the team."
The Australian has already been impressed by Mustafizur. "I met Mustafizur during the World Cup and he seems a good bright young kid. He will be looking forward to learning and looking forward to the opportunity. He is taken to big game cricket quite easily and we have already seen that in the World Cup stage and in the Asia Cup, big games against South Africa and India in the T20 World Cup. I feel he is more than comfortable and happy in big match situations. We have full confidence that he will adapt and adapt quickly."
Naman Ojha might not have had competition for his spot in the previous editions but this time around Hyderabad have roped in Aditya Tare. The Mumbai Ranji skipper is coming on the back of a successful season, which saw Mumbai lift their 41st Ranji title.
"It is good to have two wicket-keepers. Keepers are not always going to be fit and we also felt that Tare has the ability to play as a pure batsman. So, we have got confidence that he will be mobile as a player, whether it be any position in the batting order or have the ability to take on that wicket-keeping position."
However, Moody still feels that the key to team's success will be how the opening pair of Shikhar Dhawan and David Warner perform. "Any top order is important to a side, whether it is here in Hyderabad or any away game; your top order takes a huge responsibility in the first phase of the game. If Shikhar and Warner can get you off to a good start like they did last year, then nothing like it. I am very confident.
"We have got a good balance of experience and youth in this side which is important. We have got some experienced campaigners in Yuvraj, Nehra, Dhawan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and some young talent that will work off those experienced players. We have an exciting balance," he concluded.